Mr. Fentolin escorted the inspector to his dog-cart, shook hands with him, and watched him drive off. Only Mrs. Seymour Fentolin remained upon the terrace. He glided over to her side.
“My dear Florence,” he asked, “where are the others?”
“Mr. Hamel and Esther have gone for a walk,” she answered. “Gerald has disappeared somewhere. Has anything—is everything all right?”
“Naturally,” Mr. Fentolin replied easily. “All that the inspector desired was to see Mr. Dunster. He has seen him. The poor fellow was unfortunately unconscious, but our friend will at least be able to report that he was in good hands and well cared for.”
“Unconscious,” Mrs. Fentolin repeated. “I thought that he was better.”
“One is always subject to those slight relapses in an affair of concussion,” Mr. Fentolin explained.
Mrs. Fentolin laid down her work and leaned a little towards her brother-in-law. Her hand rested upon his. Her voice had fallen to a whisper.
“Miles,” she said, “forgive me, but are you sure that you are not getting a little out of your depth? Remember that there are some risks which are not worth while.”
“Quite true,” he answered. “And there are some risks, my dear Florence, which are worth every drop of blood in a man’s body, and every breath of life. The peace of Europe turns upon that man up-stairs. It is worth taking a little risk for, worth a little danger. I have made my plans, and I mean to carry them through. Tell me, when I was up-stairs, this fellow Hamel—was he talking confidentially to Gerald?”
“I am not sure that I trust him,” Mr. Fentolin continued. “He had a telegram yesterday from a man in the Foreign Office, a telegram which I did not see. He took the trouble to walk three miles to send the reply to it from another office.”
“But after all,” Mrs. Fentolin protested, “you know who he is. You know that he is Peter Hamel’s son. He had a definite purpose in coming here.”
Mr. Fentolin nodded.
“Quite true,” he admitted. “But for that, Mr. Hamel would have found a little trouble before now. As it is, he must be watched. If any one comes between me and the things for which I am scheming to-day, they will risk death.”
Mrs. Fentolin sighed. She was watching the figures of Esther and Hamel far away in the distance, picking their way across the last strip of marshland which lay between them and the sea.
“Miles,” she said earnestly, “you take advice from no one. You will go your own way, I know. And yet, it seems to me that life holds so many compensations for you without your taking these terrible risks. I am not thinking of any one else. I am not pleading to you for the sake of any one else. I am thinking only of yourself. I have had a sort of feeling ever since this man was brought into the house, that trouble would come of it. To me the trouble seems to be gathering even now.”